July was a busy month for me! I read a total of 17 books, which sounds insane, but a lot of them were really fast reads, plus I had lots of time to read during my vacation at the beginning of the month.
Ruined by Amy Tintera
I’ve heard Margot at Epic Reads rave so much about this book, so I was really excited to dive in. Sadly, I did not love it nearly as much as Margot, but I did really enjoy it. It’s an interesting world and I really enjoyed the romance between Em and Casimir, but I still don’t have a great grasp on the world introduced in this book and I didn’t fully connect with Em’s revenge quest. Regardless, it was a fun read and I’m looking forward to picking up the sequel.
All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan
I…did not care for this book. I normally love enemies to lovers stories, but I didn’t really care for Aurelia that much. I mostly liked Max, but I questioned his need to turn into a rake all because of a comical drawing, and I was no longer a fan when he was so mean to Aurelia in front of her rival. I just wasn’t really rooting for either of them and generally wasn’t a fan of this story, though I do want to read the other books in this series.
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I finally picked up a Morgan Matson novel! Sadly, though, it was no To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I had a really hard time getting into it because I hated how Emily’s entire life revolved around Sloane, who really didn’t sound like the greatest friend. Emily was also painfully shy, which I had a hard time relating to. Once I got into it, though, I did enjoy it, but it lost momentum again at the end when I found out the reason for Sloane’s disappearance, which I did not buy at all. I know people love Morgan Matson, but YA contemporaries already aren’t my favorite genre, so I’m not in a rush to pick up another one of her books.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This was another Margot recommendation, though I’ve seen it all over Booktube and I know it’s being turned into a movie soon. I thought it was a cute, solid read and I loved Blue, but I’m not obsessed with it like most people seem to read. I plan to check out the movie, though, and pick up The Upside of Unrequited at some point in time.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
This world was so, so dark…it took me a little bit to get into. Let’s just say it’s not a great vacation read! Once I got into it, though, I really enjoyed it. The world is interesting and I’m really excited to see where Laia and Elias’ story goes.
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
I was lucky enough to snag an arc of this at BookCon, so I actually read it a few weeks before it came out. It was a good read, but I just really struggle with the second chance love storylines. There’s just so, so much angst! This book has been getting rave reviews, though, so if that type of story doesn’t bother you, I think you’ll enjoy this book. I connected enough with the story that I’m excited to read the sequel, which comes out already in November!
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Um, this miiiiight be another Margot recommendation. I swear, reading all of her recommendations at once wasn’t intentional! I liked this book and I loved how it shined a spotlight on a part of history that a lot of readers know nothing about (I know a fair amount about World War II and shipwrecks in general, and I hadn’t heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff). But I had a hard time connecting to the characters and investing in the story. The chapters were just so, so short. Like, three pages a chapter. It’s hard for very much to happen in such a small amount of time, and as a result it felt really jumpy to me. But like I said, it involved an interesting piece of history and overall I enjoyed it.
Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
I was really excited to pick up a fantasy book that wasn’t steeped in European traditions, but this book didn’t do much for me. Honestly, the whole thing went by so quickly that I can’t remember much about it. I did think the magic system was really interesting, though, and I plan to pick up the sequel since I have an arc from BookCon.
Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
I still can’t believe how much I enjoy this series, since paranormal isn’t my genre of choice. After reading the first book for a book club, though, I’ve become obsessed. I thought it was interesting how the story brought in mythological elements from the Canary Islands, but the real star of the story for me was Mercy’s interactions with Adam’s ex-wife: priceless!
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
This wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but it was still great and I liked seeing a lot of threads from the previous books come together. It was a solid installment in the series, I’m just not quite ready to pick up the last one that’s published. I need more Mercy! Though I really need to check out the Alpha and Omega series.
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
This book was amazing. By far one of the best romances I’ve read in a long time. Plus it’s a historical that’s not set in Regency England! Don’t get me wrong, I love the traditional British historicals, but it’s just so refreshing to see something else, and to have it deal with the difficult topics that it does. Plus it’s a really unique take on the Civil War romances that I have read, and the whole thing was really well done. I can’t wait for the sequel.
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
So I actually started this book in April, and I put it down because I just could not get into it even though I enjoyed the first book. There were just a lot of new points of view that I wasn’t sure what to make of and I couldn’t figure out what exactly Karou was doing, especially after the ending of the first book. I finally decided to make myself finish it, though, and once I got past the first 150 pages or so, the remainder just flew by. It’s such a unique and interesting world and I’m so impressed by how Karou navigates it. And Laini Taylor does such an amazing job showing how impacted both sides are by this seemingly never ending war. I’m still a bit wary of picking up the third book after how rough the beginning of this one was, but I look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Le
This book was not at all what I thought it was going to be. I keep seeing people talking about what a light and funny read it is, but this book actually dealt with a lot of dark topics. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book and thought it brought a fresh voice and perspective to the historical fiction genre, but it’s definitely not fluff! I’m very much looking forward to the sequel. How can you not want to read a book called The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy?
The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian
So The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue made me want to pick up a proper m/m historical romance novel. I haven’t read any m/m romance before, but I thought this book was amazing. I loved Jack and Oliver and seeing them expose their vulnerabilities to each other and fall in love. I might have even liked this better than An Extraordinary Union.
The Lawrence Brown Affair by Cat Sebastian
So clearly I became obsessed with Cat Sebastian after The Soldier’s Scoundrel, as I immediately picked up the sequel. I didn’t love this one quite as much as the first book, but I was far from disappointed in it. I enjoyed watching Georgie examine what he wanted from life and seeing Lawrence believe that he wasn’t truly mad, and I thought the two of them were great together.
The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian
The obsession is real. I finished this entire trilogy in just over two days. This one also didn’t quite live up to the first book for me, but I still enjoyed it. The tension and attraction between Julian and Courtenay was amazing! I just wish it had been drawn out a bit longer. Plus I wasn’t the biggest fan of Courtenay. I just didn’t feel like I got to know and understand him as well. But still, a great read, and I’m so disappointed that Cat Sebastian doesn’t have more of a backlist for me to go through.
Lady Be Bad by Megan Frampton
This was a lackluster historical romance for me. It probably didn’t help the book much that I had just come off of Cat Sebastian, but Eleanor irritated me by her refusal to stand up to her mother and just wear her glasses instead of being blind all of the time. And I got sick of her complaining about always having to wear white instead of just doing something about it and incorporating some color into her wardrobe. I also thought Alex had a surprising lack of guilt, for all that he was going behind his brother’s back. Not that I wanted to read about his guilt, but I would have rather had it resolved earlier in the story. I also wanted more about Eleanor’s sisters! They started to come in more at the end, but I wanted them to have a stronger role earlier in the story and to see more of their relationships with Eleanor and each other. Mostly this book was just ok, and I’m unsure if I’ll pick up the sequel. Maybe I’ll start with the first book in Megan Frampton’s other series and see what I think before I make up my mind.
There you have it! All 17 books I somehow managed to read in July. I can pretty much promise that you’ll never see this many books in a monthly wrap up again, though I’m pleased that I’ve read so much this summer since I don’t typically read as much during the summer months.
Have you read any of these? Are you interested in picking any up? Let me know in the comments, and share what books you read in July!